The Greatest Duo That Never Was

Words and music. You can have one without the other, but sometimes having them both together makes for better music. The setting sun sinks in the sea while the water gently brushes my feet on the shore. These are the moments in which I get clarity. I also think of regrets, or miss opportunities, and great times in my life. On this trip It felt like a random shock though my brain. I thought about Rondo's greatest moments. One era that was short lived was Shaq and Rondo.

This brings me back to words and music. You can have one without the other, and you can make great music without lyrics. Miles Davis, Mozart, and Ravi Shankar to name a few. But sometimes having both makes something more personal. Rondo had his lyrics, and now he's Miles Davis with a basketball. He could've had his connection like Lennon and McCartney, or Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. He's left without lyrics.

Shaq brought out the best in Rondo, or Rondo brought out the best in Shaq at the young age of 39 at the time. Rondo had rejuvenated Shaq's career. While Shaq was apart of Rondo's record breaking start in 2010-11.


It's been 16 years since a Celtics player (Sherman Douglas) went off for at least 17 points, 15 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in a game as Rajon Rondo did on Wednesday in Boston's overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Yet, that performance was primarily relegated to the closing paragraphs of game recaps and highlight afterthoughts. In this case, its placement can be explained by Paul Pierce's 20,000th point rightfully taking center stage. Yet, it underscores the ridiculously high precedent that Rondo has set for himself. He is spoiling us all. After all, that box score-filling performance was his least impressive in the past week.

Last Friday against the Knicks, Rondo turned in one of the most remarkable triple-doubles in NBA history. His 24 assists tied Isiah Thomas' 1985 record for most in a triple-double (though Thomas needed two overtimes to pull off his total). Rondo's 24 assists were also the second most in Boston Celtics history. It was more than 50 years ago that Bob Cousy handed out 28 against the Minneapolis Lakers in 1959. Since then, Tiny Archibald's 23 assists in 1982 came closest.

Most Assists in a Triple-Double --All-Time

Player, team Assists Date
Rajon Rondo, BOS 24 Oct. 29, 2010
Isaiah Thomas, DET 24 Feb. 7, 1985
Fat Lever, DEN 23 April 21, 1989
Jamaal Tinsley, IND 23 Nov. 22, 2001
Oscar Robertson, CIN 22 Oct. 29, 1961
>>Source: Elias Sports Bureau

Rondo followed up that gem with another statistical marvel on Tuesday. His brilliance against the Knicks was slightly marred by seven turnovers. As if trying to negate that, Rondo had 17 assists and zero turnovers against Detroit. It marked the most assists without a turnover since Steve Nash had 18 in 2007. The last Celtics player to even approach that total was Antoine Walker, who had 14 assists without a turnover in 2002.

Together Rondo's first five games are almost hard to comprehend. He's averaging 16.4 assists per game, more than the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Oklahoma City Thunder averaged as a team entering Thursday. In the second half alone, Rondo's averaging 9.2 apg. That would rank behind the full-game averages of three players: Jason Kidd, John Wall and Deron Williams. If Rondo only played the third quarter, his 5.2 apg would still lead six teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers.

The result is an early assault on John Stockton's place in the record books.

Through five games, Rondo's 82 assists broke the record set by Magic Johnson in 1988-89 and matched by Stockton a year later. Rondo had previously tied Stockton's record for assists through three games and exceeded the mark through four.

Most Assists Through 5 Games -- NBA History

Player, team Assists Season
Rajon Rondo, BOS 82 2010-11
John Stockton, UTAH 81 1989-90
Magic Johnson, LAL 81 1988-89
John Stockton, UTAH 76 1991-92
Magic Johnson, LAL 75 1990-91
>>Source: Elias Sports Bureau

Rondo's remarkable stretch came after Rondo nearly brought home banner 18 for the Celtics during the miracle run in 2010. His 2010 playoff run, and the start of the 2010-11 season could be Rondo's greatest stretch of basketball. Although the 2012 playoffs rank high on the list. Rondo was the best player in the game during the early part of 2010-11. Injuries kicked in for him, and for Shaq. It felt like they sat down and wrote some great songs, but they were unable to finish the entire album. It's a shame that Rondo had Shaq so late in his career. What if we got a healthier Shaq, like some of his last years in Phoenix.We may have won another banner. All of the point guards on the list above had great bigs to pass to. Magic had Kareem, and Stockton had Malone.

If Rondo had Shaq in his prime, and if Shaq had Rondo in his prime (which he's in now of course and has been) that duo may have gone down as one of the best ever. Shaq's had two great teammates in Penny and Kobe. But Rondo may have made Shaq that more dominant. Rondo is the greatest passer in the game today, and maybe since Stockton. He would have found Shaq at alarming rates, and Rondo could very well be breathing down Stockton's neck for all-time assists right now if it happened.

The Rondo and Shaq connection was like a warm day in the dead of winter. It's short lived, but pleasant. I find myself lost in a dream world, that will never come true, I’ll always be wishing for something similar that was Rondo and Shaq. Rondo needs someone, but the verdict isn't out on who that player is. The great duo that never was will be just that.

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